EmptySherry Britton, one of the last great stars of the burlesque stage, died April 1 at her home in Manhattan. She was 89.
Britton was still a teenager when she began stripping on the Bowery and was a top attraction on the burlesque circuit when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia banned her art form in New York.
A headliner at Minksy's Gaiety Theater on Broadway, she had many gentlemen suitors, including Rex Harrison, according to her account in an unpublished memoir titled "The Stripper, by the Hon. Brigadier General Sherry Britton." She had been named an honorary brigadier general by President Roosevelt in thanks for entertaining the troops during World War II.
In the 1940s, Britton went on to an acting career. She was the onstage narrator of "Best of Burlesque" at the Carnegie Hall Playhouse, appeared as a "green-clad woman" in a 1951 Lee Strasberg Broadway production of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" and starred in the George Abbott-directed comedy "Drink to Me Only."
Bob Sidney, a veteran dancer, choreographer, writer and director, died March 26 of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 98.
After appearing in and participating in the choreography of such Broadway shows as "Nellie Bly," "Dance Me a Song" and "Bing Crosby on Broadway," Sidney was placed under contract with Columbia.
His first job was creating flamenco dance sequences in 1948 on "The Loves of Carmen" for Rita Hayworth, who asked him to appear as her dance partner in the film. He became a choreographer on numerous films, among them "An Affair to Remember," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," "Where the Boys Are," "How the West Was Won," "How to Murder Your Wife," "The Singing Nun," "Valley of the Dolls" and "Bluebeard."
Moving into television, Sidney became known for his ability to turn such nondancing stars as Joan Collins and Susan Hayward into dancers and for staging the unlikely duo of Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in the showstopping "It's Great Not to Be Nominated" number from the 31st Annual Academy Awards, one of four Oscar shows on which he was choreographer.
Gene Puerling, the leader of the innovative vocal quartet the Hi-Lo's and a noted vocal arranger whose sophisticated harmonies influenced the sound of other groups including the Beach Boys, died March 25 of complications of diabetes at a San Francisco Bay Area hospital. He was 78.
Formed in Hollywood in 1953, the Hi-Lo's achieved a powerful, distinctive sound from Puerling arrangements.
The group received critical praise for pop renditions of such classic jazz tunes as "Fascinatin' Rhythm" and "Skylark."
Klaus Dinger, a drummer for the 1970s German band Neu! whose mechanically repetitive yet buoyant beats had a wide influence in underground rock, died March 20 of cardiac arrest. He was 61.
Neu! albums inspired such artists as David Bowie, Sonic Youth, Radiohead and Stereolab.
Bob Dunnavant Sr., a pioneer in Alabama broadcasting who made his name among the Grand Ole Opry crowd, died April 5 after a long illness. He was 85.
Dunnavant had a large following as a country music personality. At the Opry, he worked with many Nashville artists, forming a partnership with Ernest Tubb for the weekly "Ernest Tubb Jamboree" in 1957.
In 1956, Dunnavant formed the Multi-Voice Network and began hosting the daily radio program "Contact Alabama," a cooperative venture among more than a dozen stations.